All candidates for local, state and/or national political campaigns need to connect with voters through different digital marketing channels. Digital marketing for political campaigns has made it easier to reach a targeted audience at a fraction of traditional marketing cost. There’s a lot of data available about voters but how it’s used will determine the success of the campaign.
For anybody who’s running for office, here are a few MUST DO digital marketing strategies and digital marketing channels.
The first thing you need to do as soon as you decide to run for any office is obtain a domain name for your campaign. Actually, it would not be a bad idea to purchase several domain names related to your name and the office you’ll be running for. There are times where the opponents get your domain or related domain name and then redirect those links to their own domain. For example, Donald Trump uses the www.jebbush.com domain to redirect to his own website www.donaldjtrump.com. Not all politicians are mean like Donald Trump, but you never know. Don’t let this happen to you. A domain name costs on average $15 a year and it will protect your name and your brand, plus save you a lot of headaches.
The second thing you need is a logo to establish yourself as a branded politician. This brand will be on your campaign businesses cards, door hangers, yard signs, banners, website, social media, email marketing, videos and advertisements. To present statistics, use infographics. They are a powerful visual representation that shows the difference between you and your opponent. This works very well for busy voters who only have two minutes to glance at your message.
The third thing needed is a well designed and user friendly website. Don’t go cheap with the templated website that users will not be able to find it on search engines. WordPress is the most popular web design platform. It ranks well and is very easy to manage. You need a home page that includes everything about you: photos, videos, email signup form, donation button, volunteers, blog posts, and social media links. Present issues that you care about. Post everything on your blog such as announcement for your campaign, press releases, opinion on different issues, responding to your opponent's attacks or issues, events, fundraisers, and surveys. Remember to be positive, nobody cares about attacks and nasty comments. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed and On Site SEO. Use SEO targeted keywords that users search online to find information about the campaign or the candidate.
Fundraising sites: www.Piryx.com, www.paypal.com, or www.actblue.com Use the code to post it on your website, social media and email marketing.
Some voters prefer writing checks, make sure you have detailed instructions for them to follow. Include the form with all the information required for contributors to fill out and your mailing address.
If you don’t have the budget for a new website, create a social media account and point your domain to Facebook or Twitter.
Social Media is one of the easiest way to build relationship with the voters. Any announcement you post should go on your blog then share it on your social media. Connect with voters and pay attention to what they’re interested in. Try not to constantly ask for support and donations. That gets very annoying and users will block/unfollow you.
Types of social media accounts to use: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Google + and Google Hangouts. If you don’t have the staff to manage all your social media, use www.hootsuite.com to manage your social media from one dashboard. There’s a free version that includes three social media accounts and $10 a month for up to 50 social media accounts. Start with the free version by connecting Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and add more accounts when your have more money donated to your campaign.
Email Marketing is another great way to connect with voters. Here are a couple of email platforms that are easy to use, Constant Contact and Mailchimp.
Create an email list. Start with friends and family first. To build your email list, make it easy for voters to sign up for your newsletters by having the form on your website, social media and QR code on your print materials.
Pay per Click
As the campaign progresses, add Pay per Click advertising on Google, Bing, YouTube videos, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. Use the analytics data from the beginning of the campaign to target voters. Be consistent with your message, short and sweet.
Obama for America ran one of the most successful digital marketing for political campaign. They used data to answer voters’ questions. Here's what the Obama campaign did, info from the Forbes article.
“They used existing data in new ways. There was only so much data available to the campaign – voter registration data, polls, and audience data. The Obama campaign used this data and their own insight gleaned from email testing to make determinations about audiences to target and how to reach them. Surprisingly, they actively used set-top box data to understand local audiences at a more refined level than what they could get from broad audience data, not just to target TV ads but also to inform other media channel spending.
Digital was a huge factor, but not a huge cost. While the campaign ambitiously used email and digital channels to drive fundraising and issue awareness, the cost was a fraction of TV. They started more heavily in TV, but noted that digital got more attention the more they could measure results, while the cost remained far lower than buying spots throughout campaign season.”
If you win, continue to be active on your blog, email marketing and social media, especially if you plan to run for re-election. Next time around, your digital marketing for political campaign will be so much easier. If you have any question or have suggestions, feel free to email Teuta at [email protected].